How to recognize bullying by your boss, red flags and examples | Stop Pesten NU


How to recognize bullying by your boss, red flags and examples

Bullying doesn't end on the playground; it can follow you into your professional life, lurking in the corners of office spaces and behind the closed doors of meeting rooms. What's more troubling is that sometimes, the bully could be your boss. Understanding the signs is the first step toward addressing the issue.

Remember, recognizing bullying is the first step toward stopping it. You don't have to go through it alone, and you have resources and rights to protect you. By being educated and proactive, you can make your work environment a safer and more respectful space.


What constitutes bullying by a boss?

Bullying by a boss involves repetitive, ongoing actions intended to intimidate, degrade, or belittle employees. It’s different from the occasional outburst or tough management style. Bullying is systematic and stems from an imbalance of power.


Red flags of bullying by a Boss

  • Micromanagement:
    Over-controlling your work and scrutinizing your every move.
  • Public humiliation:
    Criticizing you in front of your peers or subordinates.
  • Unrealistic expectations:
    Assigning tasks with impossible deadlines or demands.
  • Isolation:
    Excluding you from meetings, projects, or communications without reason.
  • Belittling
    Comments: Regularly making sarcastic or condescending remarks.
  • Gaslighting:
    Manipulating you into doubting your perceptions and second-guessing yourself.
  • Blame shifting:
    Failing to take responsibility for mistakes, instead placing the blame on you.


Real-world examples

Example 1: Your boss sends you an email copying the whole team, criticizing your performance without having discussed it with you privately.

Example 2: You are consistently asked to work late hours to fulfill impossible project demands, only to have your hard work go unacknowledged.

Example 3: Your boss deliberately leaves you off meeting invites, isolating you from your team and crucial project updates.


What can you do?

  • Document, Document, Document
    Keep a record of incidents, including the dates, people involved, and what was said or done. This can be useful if you decide to take formal action.
  • Consult Your Company's Policies
    Familiarize yourself with your workplace's harassment and bullying policies, so you know what steps to take and whom to approach.
  • Seek Support
    Consult the Human Resources department, or seek advice from friends, family, or professionals about the best way to handle the situation. Websites like Stop Pesten Nu offer valuable resources and advice.
  • Stand Up and Speak Out
    When safe and appropriate, communicate your concerns directly with the bully or take it up with senior management. Silence often perpetuates bullying, so speaking out can be a crucial step.